Virginia counties declaring themselves to be “Second Amendment sanctuaries” have an open invitation from West Virginia’s Republican governor to join his state.
Gov. Jim Justice extended an invitation to secede for those counties balking at the Democratic-controlled government in Richmond and its attempts to pass new gun control laws.
— Governor Jim Justice (@WVGovernor) January 28, 2020
“If you’re not happy where you’re at, come on down,” Justice said at a press conference on Tuesday with Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr.
“If you’re not truly happy where you are, we stand with open arms to take you from Virginia or anywhere you may be. We stand strongly behind the Second Amendment, and we stand strongly for the unborn,” the outspoken supporter of President Trump said.
Amid attempts by the Democrats in the state government to impose stricter gun regulations and more relaxed abortion laws, Virginia residents have pushed back with protests and a growing movement of resistance as at least 91 out of 95 Virginia counties have declared themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries” which will not enforce strict gun restrictions passed by the state.
A massive rally was staged at the Virginia state capitol by gun rights supporters this month and the push for the sanctuaries to secede is being touted as the so-called “Vexit” movement.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) January 20, 2020
“If you’re out there, no matter where you may be, Virginia, or wherever you may be as an individual or as a business or whatever,” Justice said during Tuesday’s press conference, “West Virginia is waiting for you with open arms.”
“What’s happening in Virginia right now is a tragedy in the making,” Falwell, whose university is in Lynchburg, Virginia, said. “Democrat leaders in Richmond, through their elitism and radicalism, have left a nearly unrecognizable state in their wake, and they are using their power to strip away the God-given rights held by every person in the state, despite their due protections under the U.S. Constitution.”
Lawmakers in West Virginia have reportedly introduced formal resolutions allowing Virginia counties to join their state. Falwell explained that lawyers told him petition drives in the seceding counties need to be held, followed by a referendum which, if passed, would go before Virginia’s General Assembly.
“Count me in on this push for counties to leave Virginia,” he said. “If the groundswell of support grows for counties to leave, what’s also certain is that they will be joining the Mountain State miracle that Governor Jim Justice has engineered with the help of his good friend, President Donald Trump.”
Virginia Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw mocked the idea of secession as “preposterous,” telling Justice to pay more attention to solving his state’s high poverty rate and “not screw around in Virginia,” according to the Hill.
“As always, Jerry Falwell’s words speak for themselves,” a spokeswoman for Virginia’s Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam said.
But while Justice and Falwell agreed the proposal is a long-shot bid, advocates of the move are fully behind the efforts.
“We saw their way of life under attack and we wanted to offer assistance,” Del. Gary Howell, a West Virginia Republican and sponsor of one of the resolutions, said.
“This isn’t street theater,” Virginia conservative attorney and former local elected official, Rick Boyer, said. “We fully intend to do everything we can to see it through.”
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